“Everything changes and nothing stands still.” – Heraclitus
As we all know on August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast, hitting our beloved town of Rockport with wind, rain and weather that caused major devastation. This town is the base of operations for Fly Fish Rockport, and a place I call home many months of the year. Fortunately, my family, friends and professional colleagues made it out of harm’s way safely. Unfortunately, property, buildings, and infrastructure wasn’t nearly as well-off; thankfully, that can be rebuilt.
Texans are a resilient bunch and efforts to clean up and rebuild started almost immediately. Of course, assessment was the first step. Some buildings were worse than we expected; the schools were damaged to the point that school has been postponed indefinitely. A few buildings escaped with limited/minimal damage, so it’s been a matter of cleaning up and reestablishing routines. My favorite coffee shop is back and there are some great dining and lodging spots. Rockport may look a bit different, and things may be changing a little every day, but our community is strong and getting better and better.
Having something of this magnitude occur in a community that I have come to call my home was truly painful, and part of the challenge for me was distance. I was actually in Alaska, completely off the grid when the hurricane hit. When I headed north on the trip, it was a storm that looked like it may impact fishing. So, I made some calls, cancelled some clients, and was out of cell service for 10 days. Returning to cell service was unreal. It was a blur of texts, calls, emails, worry, fear and relief as I heard that those I loved were okay.
As an outfitter, when a hurricane like this hits, it hurts. In so many ways, and much more than just financially. The community I love and have grown to be a part of was devastated, and things looked grim. So many questions and so few answers. But, if there could be a silver lining, it is in the support. Even those who were hurting right along side us were offering a hand, and that was monumental.
In the aftermath of Harvey, I immediately beached my boats and working Captains to focus on the community. We knew that when it became appropriate to fish, we would fish. One of the most difficult things for me was to be working every day in Montana while I see my Texas community struggling. But, I lent support in all ways that I could and knew that I would be down there soon to directly assist in efforts.
Now that things have settled a bit, and are definitely getting better every day, my Captains are getting back on the water. I will be down there in a matter of days and can’t wait to see for myself. As we all know, after a storm like this, the structure and environment under our favorite waters may have changed a bit, so I will be exploring and figuring out what is different. Some mediocre spots will be better and some of my favorites will be gone. But the fish are there. They are hungry. And we will put eager anglers on them!
One thing I know for certain is that fall fishing is some of our best and I look forward to trading in my Montana drift boat and trout game for the poling platform and tailing redfish. Clients are eager, the cooler temperatures make it enjoyable to be out there, and my Captains are thrilled to be back on the water. So, although this has been a difficult, sad, and unsettling event…..rest assured that Fly Fish Rockport stands strong with the rest of our Texas family.
A special thank you to the great people at Rajeff Sports for all the support and well wishes throughout these most uncertain of times. Its great to have good people supporting you. And I couldn’t be more proud to support them as well.
~ Capt. Jeff Johnson is a member of the Echo Pro Team and owner of Fly Fish Rockport.